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SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Tuesday April182017 25 Driven Sharp price for Subaru Impreza • By Ross Kiddie THIRTEEN YEARS ago I guided an acquaintance into a new car, it was a Subaru Impreza and it was a car which was priced at $25,000 with four-wheel-drive and 2-litre engine. My friend still has that car and it has now travelled fault-free over 200,000km, scheduled maintenance has been the only service cost. I remember writing at the time how much of a bargain that car was, and if finances at the time had allowed, I may well have purchased an Impreza as well. Well, nothing has changed, I still can’t afford a new car and now Subaru has another new Impreza available at a budget price. For just $5000 more than the new price in 2004, the new-generation model represents amazing value, and it is stacked with value features, items which you wouldn’t ordinarily expect in a budget car. The new generation model gets Eye-sight driver assist technology, a camera-based system which is linked to adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, precollision assist and pedestrian avoidance. Other features for comfort and convenience include automatic stop-start as a fuel saving measure, keyless entry and SUBARU IMPREZA: Stacked with value features.. ignition, Apple Car Play and Android Auto capability, along with the usual features modern cars include as a matter of course. The new Impreza still has the traditional 2-litre, flat-four (boxer) engine. It has been developed to a point where it is state-of-the-art in terms of power outputs, emission control and fuel efficiency. In terms of figures, the quad-camshaft unit is rated at 115kW and 196Nm, while a 6.6-litre per 100km/h (42mpg) combined cycle fuel usage average is claimed by Subaru. That works well with the 8l/100km (35mpg) figure showing on the comprehensive trip computer, along with a 5l/100km (56mpg) instantaneous figure cruising the 100km/h legal limit (engine speed 1600rpm). Drive is channelled to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. Not only does the four-wheeldrive system alleviate the fear of grip loss on loose surfaces, there is a lot of natural grip supplied on the seal, the Impreza has handling ability which is unrealistic for this class of car. In the first instance, grip is supplied by 205/50 x 17in Bridgestone Turanaza tyres, and even though they aren’t Bridgestone’s sport specification rubber, the tyres have prodigious grip. If you add in a flat and controlled body • Price – Subaru Impreza, $29,990 • Dimensions – Length, 4460mm; width, 1775mm; height, 1480mm • Configuration – Fourcylinder, four-wheel-drive, 1995cc, 115kW, 196Nm, continuously variable automatic. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 9.3sec • Fuel usage – 6.6l/100km balance and drive channelled constantly through to all wheels, the handling balance is biased towards sporty. That comes without the springs and dampers being overly firmed, ride quality is still paramount to the Subaru way of manufacture. I took the test car on a loop that took in both sealed and unsealed surfaces and I’m pleased to report that for what would be deemed an everyday family sedan, the Impreza imparts a sporty handling sensation. Power is directed freely through the transmission. In this form the Impreza doesn’t get the turbocharging system of its WRX stablemates, but it is an honest, punchy engine. I’ve written many times how much natural torque horizontally-opposed engines develop, and the Impreza’s naturally-aspirated unit is a honey. However, first and foremost, the Impreza caters for the family unit. While sedans are fast losing popularity, I’m still a bit of a fan and I’m quite smitten with Subaru product; together I’d be sold on the Impreza in this form. On-board comfort is high and space for three rear occupants isn’t compromised by compact exterior dimensions. Up front the seats are body forming and have a vast range of adjustment and, as you would expect from Subaru, the controls fall easily to hand. Subaru’s line-up isn’t extensive, but the company is far more than a global niche market player. All of the models offered here are functional and practical, each designed for a different role. The Impreza is there to tempt as an entry level car into the brand. Just like my friend, those who do choose to buy Subaru will be rewarded with reliability, functionality and a high level of safety, much of the latter attributed to the stability and grip four-wheeldrive offers. You’d had better be quick, though, from what I’ve heard through industry sources the Impreza in this form is only available in limited numbers and is selling fast.